Words of Wisdom


How does Dragon Kido AMA's Black Belt Mentorship Program ensure martial arts excellence?


Performance CoachingDrawing on her advanced degrees in Exercise Science and Athletic Training, Master Samantha Harville's hybrid martial arts teaching style synthesizes cutting-edge sports performance enhancement protocols with conventional training methods.  Her elite martial arts coaching features 1-on-1 personalized sessions focusing on individualized rank-based skill development, along with fun, innovative activities to improve fitness utilizing a variety of workout equipment. 

Master Sam's lessons include challenging speed, strength, endurance, balance, agility & flexibility exercise segments she specifically designed to increase the competitive edge of her martial arts students.  Injury prevention is emphasized as well by adjusting biomechanics to consistently achieve proper form, together with stressing the importance of good nutrition and hydration, adequate sleep, a positive mental outlook and ample time for recovery.

Academy members are eligible to enroll in the Black Belt Mentorship Program upon completion of our 12-week Judo training unit and attainment of the upper rank of a solid red belt.  Students who have achieved these prerequisites, in addition to regular attendance and participation in school events, will receive an exclusive invitation to join our popular mentorship program as a prospective Black Belt Candidate.  Questions or comments about this comprehensive martial arts training system may be directed to 5th Degree Senior  Instructor, Master Samantha, by emailing our school at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..  Beyond the Black Belt Mentorship Program, Master Harville's private lessons are available to members to help students optimize their martial arts abilities in preparation for promotional examinations, forms tournaments and sparring competitions.  


--by Barbara Harville

Why does martial arts training beat other recreational activities?


Yin Yang DragonsPracticing martial arts is more than just a sport; it becomes a way of life.  Martial arts lessons transform serious students physically, mentally and spiritually.  Practitioners not only develop important self-defense skills, but also gain invaluable situational awareness that can keep them out of harm's way.  Unlike other seasonal games, training is year-round, reducing downtime so individuals can flourish.  There are no benchwarmers because everyone participates all the time.  Each martial artist progresses at his or her own pace and the focus is on incremental improvement.  Students learn to work with a wide variety of ages and ranks, just like in the real world.  Of course, stress relief is a huge benefit, as well--from punching and kicking targets to executing synchronized movement patterns, martial arts definitely helps to find more Zen amidst the chaos of everyday life.

Dragon Kido's classes also include character-building activities and Black Belt service that emphasizes community ties.  Academy camaraderie often fosters close friendships too.  As for keeping long-term motivation, martial arts at DKAMA offers endless possibilities for advancement, due to the availability of different disciplines, rather than being limited to playing only one sport.  Popular specialty areas, such as martial arts weaponry and elite demo team membership are additional attractive options for dedicated students at our school.  Our Master Instructors utilize traditional and innovative training techniques within a positive environment to teach martial arts and promote physical fitness, sound decision-making and healthy living.  It's no wonder our academy maintains such a loyal following!  Email us to book a reservation for martial arts lessons at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


--by Barbara Harville

What are the top 10 ways martial arts students can maximize their scores during Forms Competitions?


Black Belt Judges carefully consider the following key elements when awarding points to Martial Arts Forms Competitors:

Earn your Trophy!Execution--

  • Power (Speed & Strength)
  • Precision
  • Balance
  • Flow
  • Breath Control
  • Reaction Force


  • Concentration
  • Oral Presentation
  • Attitude
  • Appearance (Uniform & Neatness)

Remember, although Restarting a form is technically permitted with the Judging Panel's approval, a full point will be deducted from each of the participant's scores.  It should also be noted that the failure to complete a second attempt will result in Disqualification.  Therefore, most of the time, it is preferable to simply continue performing, despite making an error.

Our academy's Master Instructors are dedicated to providing expert guidance to assist students in reaching their goals, including Tournament Preparation, via Dragon Kido's personalized private and semi-private martial arts lessons.  Members are advised to keep these important judging criteria in mind while practicing for and competing in DKAMA's upcoming FALL FORM-OFF. 

Do you want to learn more?  Book your tourney coaching session today.


--by Barbara Harville

How can we support our local community during the pandemic?


Dragon Kido Authentic Martial Arts has a long history of reaching out to help others.  In this continuing time of need, our academy will be donating the following food items listed in low supply to the South Elgin Food Pantry, which operates out of Community United Methodist Church.

Sweet TreatsIf you'd like to make someone's life a little sweeter--

Baking Supplies:  Sugar (granulated, powdered & brown), flour, cooking oil, baking soda, baking powder, baking chips, condensed and evaporated milk, vanilla, cake and brownie mixes, frosting, etc.

If you want to help spice things up--

Condiments:  Ketchup, mustard, barbecue sauce, mayonnaise, salad dressings, pickles, relish, soy sauce, hot sauce and salsa.

Members are invited to contribute to DKAMA's food drive by bringing any of the above items to our private/semi-private martial arts lessons on Tuesday through Friday evenings.  We will collect all of our academy's donations and drop them off at the SE Food Pantry for others to enjoy.


--by Barbara Harville

Does martial arts sparring teach life lessons?


Over 18 years ago, Junior Master Samantha slowly bowed and cautiously stepped onto the mat as a young white belt.  No one knew back then that she was about to embark on an amazing lifelong journey into the exciting world of martial arts.  One of Sam's most vivid early memories involves her very first sparring tournament.  As to be expected, there was a whirlwind of activity in the ring, but in the end, a swift roundhouse kick to the head became the deciding factor. . .

In her own words, this is what happened--

Sundown Sparring TournamentYou find yourself in a large, cavernous room, with high industrial ceilings and glinting mirrors lining the walls.  There is a dull hum as the clear fluorescent lights drone on and the fan whirs to life in the corner.  The parents in the crowd chat amiably, but soon you tune out their conversation snippets.  A gymnastics-grade suspended floor gives you an extra spring in your step, as the slightly coarse, but smashed down blue fibers of the rug press into your bare feet.  The crispness of the building's air conditioning starkly contrasts with the slightly smothering heat generated by your plastic-coated fighting gear, marked with streaks of color from previous fights and foes.  The helmet squeezes your cheeks a bit and you curl your neatly clipped fingers into fists, fitting them into the cradles at the end of your gloves.

Punch, block, kick, duck--you're engaged in an exhausting freestyle dance with a larger, more experienced partner.  Your muscles are warm and energized as you prepare to execute a perfectly timed strike, setting one calloused foot behind the other into a sparring stance.  The smell of cleaning solution and your own sweat fills your nostrils briefly.  Your gear squeaks as you lean forward and transfer your weight to your front foot, arching your back to the rear slightly.  The shin guard securely cups the bottom of your kneecap as you dig your toes into the fluff of the carpet.  Raising up onto the balls of your reddened feet, you pivot on your front foot, swinging your hips at lightning speed to face the other direction.  Simultaneously, you raise your rear leg up to the front with the knee bent at waist height.  You are aware for a moment of your pounding heart as you allow your knee to extend and snap out, keeping your clenched fists close to your face.  There is a tautness in your calf muscles as you point your toes.  A quick, loud PAP is audible as your foots connects with the side of your opponent's helmet.  The top of your foot aches, but only for a moment, as a sort of reverberating buzz is felt all the way from your toes to your thigh as the impact energy travels up your body.  The adversary's head whips to the side, a bit of spittle comes out of his mouth and your rival's eyes shut tightly as he stumbles backwards.  You finally land, setting the kicking foot down in front of you as dexterously as a cat while straightening out your back.  Your hair is clinging to your soaked forehead, and the salt of your own perspiration makes its way onto your dry lips. 

The referee shouts, raising the flag and calling for a point.  As all four corner judges confidently indicate the victory score belongs to you, your chest swells with pride, and your heart seems to lift a bit as the heaviness evaporates from your calves.  The match is finally won, and with it, you receive the respect of your peers and instructors alike, proving yourself to be a worthy martial artist due to your indomitable spirit.  The crowd noise gradually filters its way back to your consciousness and you look over to see your family clapping enthusiastically, their beaming grins visible even from where you're standing.  All that practice was worth it!

--as told by Samantha Harville, 5th Degree Black Belt Master

  • Do you have a martial arts story to share from way back when?
  • Send it to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with the subject line #DragonKidoCares.



Which types of martial arts weapons are taught at Dragon Kido?


Bushido WeaponryCongratulations to the members of Dragon Kido AMA's Bushido Weaponry Program, who recently earned the rank of 1st Dan for developing advanced expertise wielding an impressive collection of martial arts weapons:  Double Kali Sticks, Bo, Bokken, Tonfa, Dual Nunchaku, Sai, Kama and Katana.  A formal Black Belt certificate presentation was held this summer at our special Solidarity Sunday outdoor martial arts session. 

Dragon Kido will also be offering Martial Arts Weapons Workshops for new students periodically throughout the year, to be instructed by 8th Degree Black Belt, Grandmaster Craig Hutson or 5th Dan Master Samantha Harville.  These specialty training sessions will focus on one weapon at a time, and cover proper handling, drills, manipulation and basic fighting techniques.  Students of all levels are welcome--no experience is necessary.  Any specific age restrictions will be noted when registration materials are posted.  For the convenience of participants, the featured weapons may be ordered from our Pro Shop upon enrollment. 

Contact us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to be added to our academy's email list for advance notice of upcoming Martial Arts Weapons Workshops that you won't want to miss! 

--by Barbara Harville

Why does Grandmaster Hutson emphasize the character trait of initiative?


Great students come in all shapes and sizes.  Whether observing classes in the academic world or out on the mat, what sets them apart is not their mental abilities, or even their physical skills, but rather their inner drive. 

Taking InitiativeIndependent action is the key to success.  Individuals who regularly take charge of their own training and consistently put forth their best efforts, attain excellence.  Top students understand the importance of repetition and review their studies willingly.  For them, outside recognition is often downplayed because they compete with themselves.  High-achievers know how to harness the power of curiosity to fight boredom by delving into subjects deeper.  Ordinary life transforms into an exciting adventure.

By contrast, in today's culture, it is not uncommon for people to do only what is necessary to get by--at school and on the job.  But so much potential is lost with this limiting perspective.  How does one demonstrate initiative and reap the rewards of self-directed behavior?

Photo by Thao Le Hoang on Unsplash

Be proactive about the learning process.  Practice on your own without being told to do so.  Focus on the journey, not just the end result.  Don't look to others for motivation, but show your commitment and challenge yourself to become better than you were yesterday.  


--by Barbara Harville

What should you look for when selecting kids' martial arts classes?


Our local market is flooded with martial arts schools vying for young new members.  How can parents make the right choice for their child?  Come visit Dragon Kido Authentic Martial Arts.  We specialize in providing individualized attention in a well-equipped dojang that features quality over quantity.  Our instructors are advanced experts in the field--Grandmaster Hutson, who is an 8th Degree Black Belt, has been teaching martial arts since 1976, while Master Samantha Harville is a 5th Degree Black Belt and Certified Instructor, who has been practicing martial arts for over 18 years. 

Dragon Kido's children's martial arts classes are unique.  They focus on progressively building physical skills within the framework of developing good character traits.  Kids learn a wide range of martial arts techniques from Karate, Tae Kwon Do, Hapkido, Judo & Jiu Jitsu in an exciting, motivating environment.  Self-discipline, compassion, leadership, respect, and more are regularly integrated into our innovative comprehensive curriculum. 

Our academy's youth programming also includes fun group activities, such as park outings and movie matinees that create camaraderie and foster friendships.  Dragon Kido has also offered a popular Demo Team option too, where children practice synchronized martial arts routines to music that are performed at community events throughout the area.  Lastly, unlike most martial arts schools, Dragon Kido's pricing policies are both reasonable and transparent.  The cost of attending our academy is clearly itemized for parents in registration materials, without the use of introductory teaser rates to get new students through the door.

Fall Family DaySo now you know what makes Dragon Kido AMA stand out from all the rest:


We invite you to sign your child up for Wong's Warriors martial arts classes and join our happy crew of enthusiastic students and their satisfied parents!

For more specific information about our academy's programming, please feel free to browse our website or contact Dragon Kido at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

--by Barbara Harville

How can parents facilitate their children's ambitions, especially when they want to become Black Belts?  


Although most people would agree that the overprotective helicopter approach is stifling, there seems to be an opposite trend in place today that is similarly distressing--skydiver pilot parenting.  In these households, children are habitually overburdened with all kinds of activities, and frequently arrive at sessions alone, like solo parachutists, because their transportation just zooms off.  Quality family interactions are at a minimum, as equipment-clad kids are hurriedly shuttled from one drop zone to another, day after day.  Worse yet, these extracurricular lessons are rarely reinforced at home, due to a lack of time, and the absence of even a basic awareness of what was covered in class.  In such situations, everyone's focus is fragmented and mediocrity is usually the end result.

Zen StonesThe real question remains, what are we teaching our children?  Of course, learning how to swim and defend oneself are fundamental, worthwhile goals.  While it's certainly important for kids to be exposed to a variety of endeavors, selecting an outside interest based on a child's needs, desires and aptitude is paramount.  As adults, we recognize that commitment goes hand-in-hand with true life skill development.  Since attaining proficiency in a particular area requires steady enrollment and practice, it is up to us to limit what our kids are involved in, and provide more than just financial support to help them accomplish their objectives. 

Periodically resisting the temptation to pull out our phones while sitting on the sidelines and actually watching what's happening often makes a huge difference.  Taking the time to discuss an aspect of their training and offering encouragement and a designated spot at home for martial arts will definitely work wonders.  On the other hand, the necessity of downtime must not be ignored.  All electronics should be silenced occasionally, so our children can be respectful, active participants in the natural world.  

Looking to the future, did you know that college admission panels are no longer seeking well-rounded applicants?  Rather, they are searching for angular individuals who demonstrate perseverance by cultivating singular passions and achieving excellence in their unique pursuits.  At Dragon Kido Authentic Martial Arts, we wholeheartedly share this philosophy and carefully gauge the progress of each specific child at our school.  Our martial arts programs are family-oriented and promote the formation of a partnership between instructors, parents and their kids.  Unlike many of our competitors, "paper black belts" are never issued at our academy.  Every rank promotion must be earned and involves dedication to the martial arts through regular training, consistent participation and enthusiastic service.  It is precisely this emphasis on building character and realizing one's full potential that enables Dragon Kido's students to eventually become genuine Black Belts, as well as happy, successful members of society as a whole.  Isn't that what good child-rearing is all about?

 --by Barbara Harville

title="Dragon Kido Authentic Martial Arts" >Dragon Kido
Call (847) 772-7131!
craighutson10@gmail.com DKAMA of South Elgin
Serious martial arts students believe the martial arts
are not about fighting, but about how one lives.